A word that has made its way into the vocabulary of the church is the word “unionism.” When we speak of “unionism” we are speaking of the joint worship and church work among and with such as are not agreed in the doctrines of Scripture. Unionism is practiced under the guise of love. In other words, if we really love one another, the saying goes, and want to practice love among Christians in the world today, we will not make an issue of the doctrinal differences that divide the church. We will rather get together on the things upon which we are agreed, and not be troubled by the things upon which we are disagreed. That philosophy works in the world; for better or for worse; politics thrives on compromise. But in the church compromise of the Word of God, of Biblical principles, of matters of faith, is dangerous. Unionism is an agreement to disagree in matters of faith. Because it encourages sitting at the feet of false teachers it is more than dangerous. It is wrong!
In the name of love we may bow to those who think differently than we in secular matters within the church. We may compromise for the sake of peace where God’s Word is not involved. But how dare we in the name of love change what God says in order to get along with our neighbor? God’s Word is not ours to change or compromise unless we want to suggest that at best God could not, or chose not, to tell us the truth in a way we can understand it. At worst it suggests that God is a liar. How can we in the name of love relinquish, or compromise, our principles of faith to get along? The issue is not whether or not we want to get along with others. Sure we do. But at what cost? If we believe God’s Word and we believe it is truth, how can we give it up for a half-truth or no truth? Compromisers of truth always end up with untruth. In the church we call it error! One cannot mix black (error) and white (God’s truth) and ever end up with white. Gray or black is not white. Plain and simple, compromise, which is the staple of unionism, is condemned by the Lord (2 Corinthians 6: 15 – 18).
Since they who in word and deed promote unionism, and since unionism is a compromise of the Word of God, they who practice and promote it are undermining respect for and confidence in the Word of God. When confidence in the Word of God is undermined, faith itself has lost its moorings. When there is no mooring for faith there is no confidence of salvation. To some that may be a stretch. But consider it. If God did not mean what He said when he warned against false teachers and how we should react to them, “Avoid them” (Romans 16:17), “Come out from among them” (2 Corinthians 6:17), how can we be sure that He meant what He said when He gave us the message of Jesus, our Savior? If the church which has been entrusted with proclaiming the Word of God (Matthew 28:18-20) compromises what God says for our protection ( Romans 16:18) how can anyone trust what it teaches concerning salvation? Furthermore, if the guardians of the Word compromise it, why should the man in the street not compromise it in life and morals?
Compromise and absolute truth are not compatible. If we believe that God’s truth is absolute we cannot compromise; we cannot be unionists. Indeed we confess that we believe that God’s Word is truth. His Word tells us in 1 Corinthians 1:10, “Now I plead with you brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.” Our Lord binds freedom to truth, not compromise. In John 8, He says, “If you continue in My word, then you are my disciples indeed and you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”
Fellowship that is based on compromise of truth is a misnomer, and a contradiction. The fellowship of the early church is the fellowship that we are to treasure. “They continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers” (Acts 2:42). No unionism there!
(To be continued)